Where did this phobia come from ?

There are a variety of processes that appear to cause a phobia of balloons popping. It is common to find that someone with a balloon popping phobia has had a bad experience with a balloon when they were very young - often a balloon will have popped very close by and will have quite understandably produced an enormous shock - when this happens at what is correctly called 'a tender age' then a strong aversion can be initiated towards whatever caused the shock in the first place.

Although I am not phobic - I can imagine the process where a child is upset at the loss of such a beautiful and amazing thing as a balloon - and because the sound of the balloon popping is associated with the loss, an avoidance of both the loss and the noise could be linked into one feeling and could build up to the point where it is seen as unbearable.

There is growing evidence that a tendency towards having a phobia can have a genetic basis, although the data is open to misinterpretation. It is fairly common for someone with a phobia to have a parent or both parents who also have a phobia. There are two possible processes in play here - one process has been proved to exist and that is a genetic predisposition to phobias - the phobias of the parents will not usually be the same ones as those in the children. The other process which is the one that can confuse the data, is that it may be possible for the children to learn how to be excessively fearful simply by following their parents' example. Observing phobic offspring within a phobic family can provide no real clues as to the origins of the phobias of the offspring - genetic studies with animals show that genetics control a tendency to be either timid or bold, and that the same genes are also responsible for such things as physical size and body pigmentation - while it is logical for a small animal to be more timid than a larger one, it is illogical that hair color or body color should have this effect - but such effects are observed even where offspring are removed from the parents at birth so that the genetic influence is separated from the environmental one.

Since a phobia is an irrational fear, we cannot always expect there to be any rational explanation for its existence - if there is something in the past which has been the starting point of the phobia, then there may be some usefulness in starting to rationalize this event - but faced with a phobia, the only important thing to do is deal with it - and the precise history of its cause is not as significant as the way we go about the cure.

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